Honolulu, Hawaii – The Army’s Regional Health Command-Pacific (RHC-P) is the winning team for the U.S. Army Medical Command (MEDCOM) 2021 Best Leader Competition, which took place at Schofield Barracks on the island of Oahu from July 25-30. Regional Health Command-Central (RHC-C) is the runner up for this year’s competition. The winners were announced in an award ceremony held at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu on July 30. General officers from throughout the MEDCOM attended the event.
Winning Team: Regional Health Command-Pacific
1. 1st Sgt. Amy Davis, Combat Medic, Medical Department Activity, Korea
2. Capt. Jason Christman, Optometrist, Desmond Doss Health Clinic, Hawaii
3. Staff Sgt. Israel Rivera, Combat Medic, Desmond Doss Health Clinic, Hawaii
4. Spc. Jarrett Rodriguez, Combat Medic, Desmond Doss Health Clinic, Hawaii
Second Place Winner/Runner Up: Regional Health Command-Central
5. Capt. Megan Balcom, Physical Therapist, Irwin Army Community Hospital, Fort Riley, Kan.
6. 1st Sgt. James Buchanan, Combat Medic, U.S. Army Medical Department Activity, Fort Polk, La.
7. Staff Sgt. Edward Nelan, Combat Medic, Soldier Readiness Unit, Brooke Army Medical Center, Joint Base San Antonio, Texas
8. Spc. Totaram Dhanpat, Preventative Medicine Specialist, Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, Fort Hood, Texas
1. Officer Category: Capt. Jason Christman, Optometrist, Desmond Doss Health Clinic, Hawaii
2. First Sergeant Category: 1st Sgt. James Buchanan, Combat Medic, U.S. Army Medical Department Activity, Fort Polk, La.
3. Non-commissioned officer Category: Staff Sgt. James Gabisum, Combat Medic, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany
4. Soldier Category: Spc. Jarrett Rodriguez, Combat Medic, Desmond Doss Health Clinic, Hawaii
Individual Runners Up
1. Officer Category: Capt. Megan Balcom, Physical Therapist, Irwin Army Community Hospital, Fort Riley, Kan.
2. First Sergeant Category: 1st Sgt. Yakima Sanderlin, Combat Medic, Headquarters Company, Troop Battalion, Womack Army Medical Center
3. Non-commissioned officer Category: Staff Sgt. Israel Rivera, Combat Medic, Desmond Doss Health Clinic, Hawaii
4. Soldier Category: Spc. Totaram Dhanpat, Preventative Medicine Specialist, Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, Fort Hood, Texas
Staff Sgt. James Gabisum was recognized as the Army Medicine NCO of the Year and Spc. Jarrett Rodriguez as the Army Medicine Soldier of the Year. Gabisum and Rodriguez will move forward and compete as the U.S. Army Medical Command representatives in the Army’s Best Leader Competition in the fall.
“When I arrived to my first event of the competition,” said Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle, the Army Surgeon General and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Medical Command, “I thought we had made a wrong turn. I thought we had stumbled upon the training site of the 25th Infantry Division. I caught myself and said, no. This is us. We’re in the exact right location because the best leader for the United States Army is a medical Soldier. A Soldier Medic is the Army’s reigning champion,” said Dingle who spoke at the winner’s announcement ceremony.
Dingle reminded the audience that it is the cry for the “medic” that is heard across the battlefield when the casualties begin to mount in combat.
“When the Army is called upon, Army Medicine is always there, conserving the fighting strength by returning Soldiers to duty,” said Dingle.
Dingle recalled a moment he shared with the winning team, Regional Health Command-Pacific. “I asked the first sergeant how she was doing,” he said. “She couldn’t look me in the eye because she was hurting so bad. She thought that if she had to do one more ruck march, she wouldn’t be able to make it. They had to do a ruck march as part of the ‘mystery event’. As tears built up in her eyes and her body felt as though it had failed her, her team held her up. Together they said they would do it. They did it. They did it together. As a tribe…as a team,” said Dingle.
The physically and mentally demanding competition, which was held in and around the jungles of the home of the Army’s legendary 25th Infantry Division featured events that would test a Soldiers endurance and knowledge of important Soldier tasks. The Soldiers faced off during a water survival event, which was a skill that one team had to employ when their boat overturned during the final event on Hickam Beach, a grueling obstacle course, day and night land navigation, and a “stress shoot” where the Soldiers had to be able to accurately hit a target after experiencing high-energy stressful engagements that involved simulated casualties.
The competition also included a “mystery event”. The mystery event, which was held at Hickam Beach required the Soldiers to navigate through water after a long morning ruck march. This event was designed to mentally and physically challenge the competitors’ ability to shoot, move, communicate, and provide combat casualty medical care under pressure.
The Army’s most senior Combat Medic Command Sgt. Maj. Diamond D. Hough provided closing remarks. “Army Medicine will always be ready,” said Hough, who serves as the U.S. Army Medical Command-Command Sergeant Major. “We will be ready and responsive to the needs of our Army and always have a team ready to go.”
The competition was hosted by RHC-P and included Soldiers from each of the MEDCOM’s four regions.
The winner’s announcement ceremony can be viewed here: https://www.dvidshub.net/video/808602/army-medicine-best-leader-competition-results
All images, videos, and articles from the competition can be found at this link: https://www.dvidshub.net/feature/ArmyMedicineBestLeaderCompetition
Individual images of the competitors are here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/armymedicine/albums